News & Comment

Tobacco publisher calls for more groups like Forest "to support smokers and vapers' rights"

Thu 6th November, 2014

A leading industry publisher has called for more groups like Forest "to voice their support for smokers/vapers' rights".

Speaking at Forest's 35th anniversary party in London on Tuesday night, Elise Rasmussen, publisher of Tobacco Reporter, told guests:

"I am delighted to be here this evening as the director of the Global Tobacco Networking Forum which, as a sign of the times, we have just renamed the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum! The purpose of the GTNF is to network, engage, discuss and debate important issues that affect the tobacco industry and now, more and more, the vaping industry.  

"Of course the cornerstone of our industry are our consumers and consumer rights are fundamentally what we are all here to protect. Simon Clark [director of Forest] has attended GTNFs in Bangalore, Antwerp, Cape Town and, just last month, West Virginia. Through panel discussions and keynote speeches he has passionately ensured that companies, public health advocates and industry suppliers remember that the consumer is paramount in any and all consultations and regulations.  

"Fundamentally, we are discussing  legal products and adult choice and neither of those points should be dismissed. Through Simon’s participation on a global platform he has developed relationships that have impacted regional regulatory challenges such as the ongoing Hands Off Our Packs campaign. 

"Simon’s dedication to the smoker, vaper, consumer has educated others around the world of the value and importance of an organization like Forest. Just as Women In Tobacco, which I am proud to chair, has gone from strength to strength and, just last month, officially launched Women In Tobacco USA, I hope that others will band together and globally offer events like Smoke on the Water and The Freedom Dinner to unite like-minded people who are willing to voice their support for smokers/vapers' rights.

"I  was in the US on Sunday when the world cheered Nik Wallenda as he made his amazing tightrope walk above Chicago. It brought back comparisons to the legendary tightrope walker Jean-Francois Gravelet, nicknamed Blondin because of his fair hair. Blondin was the first person to tightrope walk across the Niagara Falls, a feat he repeated several times.  

"On this first occasion Blondin offered to carry a volunteer over on his back. Now if I asked a representative sampling of bystanders if they believed that Blondin could successfully cross Niagara Falls with someone on their back most would say yes. If however I enquired if they personally would like to be that person most, I dare say, would say no.  

"In a world where the nanny state is gaining traction I am confident that given a choice individuals would agree that smokers/vapers have rights but it is only groups like Forest that ask the question: do you believe enough to ‘cross Niagara Falls on someone’s back’?  

"It is with great pride that I surround myself this evening with a group of individuals who are active supporters of Forest and smokers' freedom who are crossing Niagara Falls and encouraging others to do so too.  

"Please join me in a toast to Forest and to their next 35 years!"

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